Amph The Seinfeld Chronicles: A Thread About Nothing (Episode-by-episode) THE MOVIE

Discussion in 'Archive: The Amphitheatre' started by Havac, Feb 19, 2011.

  1. yankee8255 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 31, 2005
    star 6
    I'd bump The Boyfriend way further up. Yes, it loses steam a bit in the second half, but the first half is side-sidesplittingly brilliant.Top 5 for me. I'd also put The Alternate Side higher up. Definitely no argument from me on #1.

    On the last three episodes, What really sticks out to me is how they've finally started to figure out how to use Kramer. Yes, they use his physical comedy as filler at times, but he's alos finally really integrated into the plots, rather than just being a bit of a side show. On The Keys, I saw this one for the first time in a while not too long ago, really held up well. Kramer's road trip is great (love the fairy tale) and the scene in Elaine's apartment is great. And a tremendous pay off with Kramer in Murphy Brown. One of my favorite ending gags.
  2. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    The Trip, Parts 1 and 2

    Jerry's stand-up is about people moving, and how odd the concept would have been a hundred and fifty years ago, when moving across the country was a life-altering, long-term idea. It's a pretty good bit.

    George and Jerry chat about Kramer being on Murphy Brown; George is very amazed. The show appears to be picking up immediately after The Keys. George also mentions that Kramer asked him to come along; Jerry is surprised that he managed to keep a secret. "This was like a record. My previous record was when Joanie Hersch asked me not to tell anyone that we slept together. I kept a lid on that for about twenty-eight seconds." (There's some great banter in a deleted scene about how Jerry didn't tape the show, because he didn't know Kramer was going to be on it, but he doesn't tape anything anyway because he feels like it loses something if he's in control of the TV show. George tapes everything, so much that he never knows what he's taped because he doesn't mark any of the tapes.) Jerry has an invite to The Tonight Show and a pair of free tickets to go over there. In a quintessentially George scene, George perks up at the invitation to use the free ticket, but then starts demanding to know if everything else is free, then starts obsessing over all the stuff he'll have to do for a trip, and then starts pestering Jerry to do the Universal tour.

    On a soundstage, Kramer is holding forth to a group about how he color-codes his lines so he can associate the colors with emotions and memorize just the colors, until a security guy kicks him off the set. Cut to Kramer blowing out of the lot in a convertible and busting through the gate at the security station. It's a great little visual gag.

    At his hotel, Kramer tries to call Candice Bergen and gets hung up on. An old woman tells him about her last role -- in a 1930s Three Stooges short -- in far too much detail, and then derails into talking about how it ended with the Three Stooges being executed and screaming about being left at the altar by Mickey Rooney.

    George comes into the apartment with a ton of luggage. Jerry predictably gives him crap, which allows George to go on about how he dresses based on mood, and there are "many subtle variations, only discernible to an acute observer, that reflect the many moods, the many shades, the many sides, of George Costanza." "And what mood is this?" "This is Morning Mist."

    The show then has some fun with a scene of police detectives talking over the body of a young woman, throwing around cliched dialogue and an over-intense, growly performance from one of them.

    George and Jerry have to go through airport security, with Jerry riffing on the guy ahead of them and responding incredulously to the question if he's wearing jewelry, including an anklet, when he sets off the metal detector. George gets embarrassed when the guy finds moisturizer in his bag. There's not much to it, but it's a decent little moment. (It's even better in a deleted scene to start it where Jerry rags on George's plane attire and compares it unfavorably to his much more comfortable clothing choices. "Don't you see what I've done here?! I've created a pajama effect! Yet I can still blend in with the general population.")

    Jerry does stand-up about the people who get to ride carts across the airport.

    Kramer goes in for an audition, only to find out they're auditioning for multiple roles, which leads to a little montage of Kramer doing predictably Kramer-like group auditions for a music video, an exercise tape, a horror movie, and an infomercial. He gets a little connection going with a woman in the horror movie audition, which is the only one he doesn't screw up. They go out for lunch, where he shows her his movie treatment and she goes on about how her manager has connections "with West German television money" and is trying to put together an Eva Braun miniseries for her. Her monologue about all the weird stuff about Eva Braun's life is great. "What was it like having sex with Adolf Hitler? What do you wear in a bunker? What did her pa
  3. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2001
    star 6
    I've only seen scattered episodes...and unfortunately not this one.
  4. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    The Pitch/The Ticket

    The stand-up is about historical vacations and Amish country. Whatever.

    Jerry and George are at the comedy club, talking with some other comic about Gettysburg. He leaves, and George asks what they had for toilet paper in the Civil War. It's a fair question, I suppose, and continues George's fixation on toilets. "Everything with you comes down to toilet paper." Jerry starts riffing on it, and having a toilet paper museum for George. Two hilariously sincere NBC executives walk up, and George starts bragging about being able to spell their last names until Jerry runs him off. They praise his set and say they're interested in putting together a TV show with him. And so begins Seinfeld's first season arc. It goes meta instantly, with George saying that anything gets put on TV these days and the audience laughing. George starts throwing Jerry sitcom ideas: he's a gymnastics coach who's pushing his son into gymnastics, he's an antique dealer who gets involved in customers' lives. Jerry objects to both of these concepts not on the basis that they suck, but that they're illogical. What does he care if his son's into gymnastics? Who does he meet as an antique dealer that he can help out? "So someone comes in to buy an old lamp, and suddenly I'm getting them out of a jam?"

    At the apartment, Kramer is pitching Jerry on being the manager of a circus. "I mean, who wouldn't tune in to see a woman with a mustache?" Kramer's fixated on the idea that people watch TV because they want to watch freaks. And then Newman walks in with a helmet that he's trading Kramer for a radar detector. Kramer goes off to get the detector, throwing out an invitation to his party on the way out, which is a perfectly fitting way to introduce a Kramer event. For all you know, he just decided to have a party that minute. Newman explains the exchange to Jerry (after a "Hellooooo, Newman.") and Jerry starts grilling him on how he has a motorcycle helmet (his girlfriend had a motorcycle) and how he ever had a girlfriend ("I had a girlfriend! And she was pretty wild," the delivery of which Knights just kills. "I don't remember you with a girl." "Nevertheless."). Jerry points out that this is a lousy deal for Kramer, and Newman makes him promise not to say anything. "All right. Hey, you know you're getting gypped over here," he says as Kramer walks through the door. Pure indignation on Knight's face. They start fighting over the deal until Jerry takes both items away and makes the swap. Newman scuttles away, and Jerry asks if the radar detector works. "Nah." Kramer immediately putting the helmet on is a great little visual gag.

    In Monk's, Jerry and George drop a little exposition explaining that Elaine is touring Europe with her psychiatrist/boyfriend -- the sort of great little unethical detail Seinfeld excels at including. They start goofing around, riffing on salsa and seltzer. "See, this should be the show, this is the show," giggles George. The show should be "Just talking." "Yeah, right." Then it hits George that this is actually not a bad idea. The show can be just talking! Just talking? Then what's the show about? "It's about nothing." I like Seinfeld's willingness to mock itself, to point out the ridiculous nature of its own premise, how TV-unsuitable it is. George insists that you don't need a story, and pitches the events of The Chinese Restaurant as an episode. The show is getting aggressively meta at this point. George adds himself into Jerry's hypothetical pitch, insisting he's part of the team now. "Since when are you a writer?" "What writer? We're talking about a sitcom." Jerry's still trying to work out the idea of pitching NBC a show about nothing. "I still don't know what the idea is!" says a baffled Jerry. George goes over it again, until Jerry agrees that it's actually not a bad idea.

    Jerry's pitching the idea to Kramer now, telling him that a character would be based on him. Kramer doesn't like having someone based on him. "You're my neighbor, there's got to be a character based on you!" "That's your pro
  5. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    The Wallet

    The opening stand-up is about Jerry's parents arguing during car trips. Whatever.

    Jerry is in the car with his parents, telling them about his sitcom deal ("What, you've got leather seats here?" says a clearly distracted Morty. Morty is always gold). There's also the first of several nods to prior episode lines ("What writer? It's a sitcom!") and Morty complaining about his airplane meal. "How could you eat fish on a plane?" "Because she puts up such a big stink every time I try to have a piece of meat." Jerry brings up the fact that George thinks they should get a better deal; Helen points out that George doesn't even have a job, while Morty complains that "Those people are all crooks!" and George is right to try to avoid getting fleeced, which is of course Morty's great obsession.

    Cut to George in the car with Susan after a date, saying that he's passing on the deal. George snorts that he can speak for the both of them when Susan scoffs, and when she points out that it's a perfectly usual deal for the first sitcom, George replies, "Is Ted Danson's deal standard?" Susan outright laughs and says, "You're not Ted Danson." Alexander playing George thinking he's a big shot is tremendous fun to watch. Susan then gives him a box of Cuban cigars that are a gift from her father. The show doesn't quite bother to explain why her dad is giving lavish gifts to his daughter's brand-new boyfriend he's never met, but hey. George is just upset that now he has to write a thank-you note, which is a perfect reflection of his priorities.

    Back in Jerry's car, the topic of his missing watch comes up, and he fibs that it's being repaired, which leads Morty to bluster about how he'll take it to the place he got it and get it repaired on warranty, and he's going to pay the bill when Jerry insists on leaving it in his shop. It's great to have these arcs interwoven throughout the season, like the Kramer's jacket arc/running gag last season. It gives a great feeling of interconnectivity to Seinfeld's world. They're at a gas station, and when the attendant comes up to collect the money, Morty again insists on paying, while Jerry insists that "I make money. You think I don't make money; that's what you think, isn't it?" The scene culminates in a great shot of Morty and Jerry fighting to hand their money over to the attendant, Morty leaning across Jerry to get at the window. "Jerry, don't do this to your father. Over my dead body, Jerry!"

    At the apartment, Jerry shouts at Morty for carrying a suitcase up when the whole point is that he's in town to see a back specialist. Kramer comes in, to wild audience cheers and applause. The Seinfelds are both really happy to see him; I love the way they've just latched onto Kramer for some reason as this great guy. He's got a bandage on his head, and explains that Crazy Joe Davola kicked him in the head. Helen of course shouts at Jerry for telling Crazy Joe Davola about Kramer's party. "Hey, these are very comfortable pants! You know what I paid for these, Jerry? They're good around the house, and they're good for outside!" Everyone ignores him. God, I love Morty. Every single thing the man says is gold. Kramer drops the fact that Davola is coming for Jerry now; I love his consistent way of just inadvertently ruining things for Jerry. "Morty, do you hear this, some crazy guy is after Jerry!" "I'll make a few phone calls." Jerry explains that Crazy Joe just doesn't like him. "How can anyone not like you?" Helen asks, totally outraged at the idea that anyone could not love her son. When Jerry says that many people don't like him, she gasps and slaps his arm. "Jerry, don't say that!" She goes on about how everyone likes him and it's impossible not to like him, and turns to Morty for support. "Maybe some people don't like him, I can see that." "Kramer?" "Yeah, I like him," which puts this beatific smile on Helen's face. Kramer of course then breaks in to ask the time, which brings up the whole watch thing again, and Kramer won't let it go, digging and digging about where he took it, and when h
  6. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    The Wallet is a great episode. Reston, the shrink-boyfriend, is one of my favorite side characters. The scene that you mention where he completely destroys Elaine while she's trying to tell him she's seeing someone else is one of the most cringe-inducing, yet completely hilarious, scenes of the whole series. It's getting toward Office level humiliation. Fantastic.
  7. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Seinfeld has done a lot of fairly dark characters, but there's something about the realism of his sexual-predator manipulation that's incredibly unsettling as well as funny. It really is cringe humor.
  8. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    The Watch.

    After a recap, Jerry is mocking bad gifts and especially the paperweight; it's pretty fair stand-up.

    At the dinner scene, Morty is complaining about how long it's taking Jerry's watch to get fixed when Leo got his fixed by the same guy in a day. Helen sees a pretty girl walk by and points her out to Jerry, who says she's okay. They get into a lengthy argument over whether or not she's beautiful, with Jerry insisting that she's merely okay or pretty, but not beautiful, as Helen gets increasingly adamant about this random woman. It's a great use of Helen's over-niceness, and I like fact that Morty appears to have briefly fallen asleep in his chair when they cut to coverage of Helen. Leo chimes in to agree with Jerry, a nice little subversion.

    Susan and George are in the car with them; Susan is reporting that Russell Dalrymple responded to their ultimatum with "The hell with them" and pretty much the exact words Jerry predicted last episode. This suddenly sinks in to George, who goes pathetic and says that he "had nothing to do with it" and it was all Jerry's decision to turn NBC down. "I'm the creative guy, he handles the business end." It's just blatant lying and patheticness, the usual George mix. "What kind of a maniac is this guy?" he asks. Dalrymple has gone outside the system that George thought existed; there's no counteroffer. "He doesn't like to play games," Susan says of Dalrymple. "Well, he has to play; he can't just not play, we're playing!" When Susan won't give him Dalrymple's address so that he can talk to him before Monday, George snatches her address book and they start to fight over it.

    In a purple couch, in a dimly-lit apartment packed full of crap (I'm assuming this is Kramer's place), Kramer and Elaine are going over her need for him to impersonate her boyfriend. You'd think she'd know better, and get Jerry or George to play "Kramer" for Reston. Kramer agrees, and then of course starts asking about the relationship. "Have we been intimate?" "How often do we do it?" Kramer, quite rightly actually, points out that a psychiatrist is bound to ask them about that kind of stuff, and if they're not ready for the probing questions together it'll fall apart. "Okay, we do it, uh . . . five times a week, I dunno." "Ohhhhhh baby," Kramer says and starts grinning. Kramer, though, refuses to say how he'll respond to questions, since it will "kill the spontaneity" and "You know, Gleason, he never rehearsed." Kramer calls up Reston, sings along to the hold music, and then tells Reston that he's in love with Elaine and wants Reston to leave Elaine alone, and then starts threatening him. Elaine gets increasingly enthused as Kramer is knocking this one out of the park, but then he starts going all soft as Reston begins counterarguing. We don't hear it, but you can easily imagine that calmly dominating manner from his encounter with Elaine. Of course, Reston quickly talks him into coming in. "WELL WHY DIDN'T YOU JUST SAY NO?" Elaine shouts after he explains. "Well, uh . . . that's interesting . . ." he ponders.

    The woman, who appears to be a waitress, comes over and asks about their meal and flirts a little with Jerry; Jerry shuts her down with a request for the check. Helen starts chewing him out, and Jerry points out that he's not going to flirt with this woman in front of his parents anyway. Morty, of course, launches himself for the check as soon as it comes. "How you gonna pay? You don't even have a wallet!" "Don't worry about it!" Jerry lets him have it and just riffs on how he'll be interested to see how this works. Jerry goes off to the bathroom; "How the hell am I going to pay for this?" mutters Morty.

    In the bathroom, Jerry runs into Leo and tries to buy his watch "for a friend," Leo laughs it off, and Jerry gets to pull an arm-grab as Leo tries to walk away. It's a great joke, but it only pays off if you've seen the earliest Leo episodes to know that it's a reversal, and I really like the confidence of the show in pulling these kind of in-jokes.

    George is in the lobby of Dalrymple's bui
  9. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    I have fonder memories of this one that you do, but it's been a long time since I've seen it. I remember the Kramer chair fart scene just putting me on the floor laughing and the punchline of the money in the wallet and the wallet in the trash and Uncle Leo getting the money is pure gold.
  10. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    The Bubble Boy

    The stand-up is about calling someone intending to get the machine, and being surprised when they pick up. It's solid.

    Jerry comes into the apartment with Naomi, the woman from last episode. Why he still went out with her after hearing that laugh, I don't know, but here he's still suffering from it, trying not to say anything funny and panicking when she suggests watching The Naked Gun on TV. "Why don't you check the TV Guide? I think, uh, the Holocaust is on." A bit daring for a Jewish comedian. I like the way that Jerry's sarcastic nature means that he can't stop himself from making smartass comments that still get laughs. Jerry plays his messages, in which George talks about going to Susan's dad's cabin with him and Naomi -- and mentions the fact that Jerry has said that she laughs "like Elmer Fudd sitting on a juicer." Jerry runs over, starts slapping at buttons, and quickly gives up and rips the cord out of the wall before trying to play it cool. "Well, first of all, Elmer Fudd is one of the most beloved, internationally known cartoon characters of all time." She walks out on him while he just keeps rambling about the positive qualities of the juicer. "And then the vitamins!"

    The next day, we've got Jerry shouting at George over it, but he quickly admits that he doesn't care anyway, because it's not like he liked her or saw it going anywhere. There's a nice bit where Jerry throws out a joke that falls flat, and explaining it still doesn't stop George's skepticism. George suggests that Jerry take Elaine instead, but Jerry worries that Kramer will be insulted, but George won't hear of taking Kramer because Susan can't stand him. After, you know, the vomit and everything. Kramer chooses that moment to pop in, smoking one of his Cubans, and announces that he'll be playing golf at a private club that weekend because he gave a Cuban to the pro. George and Jerry take that as a license to tell him about the cabin and how sorry they are that they can't take him, buying goodwill. They explain that it's pie country up there, and they sell pies by the side of the road, then start alternating listing flavors of pie, all lengthy two-flavor berry combinations. It's not really a funny joke, until there's a pause, and Jerry sticks the landing with an understated: "Peach."

    At Monk's, Jerry invites Elaine and she brings up the picture he's got with him, autographed for his dry cleaner. He complains about having to sign pictures, since he's supposed to think up something witty to write on it but he's never got anything good. This is one of the first times they really play with Jerry's level of relative fame, and it's nice to see Jerry resenting his fame; he's too misanthropic to actually enjoy it. He's then approached by a guy named Mel, who drives a Yoo-Hoo truck. It's a good little funny detail, as is Jerry's immediate confession of Yoo-Hoo fandom. Mel saw him on the Tonight Show, with his son Donald, who is a huge fan . . . and is in a bubble. The show proceeds to have tremendous fun with the word "bubble," making sure to accentuate both B-sounds in the word and say it as many times as possible. Mel starts to break down as he relates Donald's terrible condition, and Elaine starts crying with him; she hands Mel and Jerry napkins to wipe away tears, and uses one herself. Jerry takes the proffered napkin and wipes his mouth, totally unmoved. Mel starts again, talking about watching him on TV, and Jerry starts pestering him with questions about the bubble; he's just curious about how this whole thing works, if Mel gets in the bubble, if the bubble's transparent, and then Elaine breaks in to ask about the remote, even as she's still dabbing at tears. Which totally redeems her moment of actual emotion. The best part, though, is the way Mel just affably goes along with the questions. "So you have no control over the remote?" "Yeah. It's frustrating." Finally, Mel asks if Jerry can come over and see Donald for his birthday tomorrow. Elaine makes Jerry agree . . . and then Jerry learns that Mel lives upstate.

    Cue J
  11. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    One of my favorite episodes. I'd probably put it up in the top ten. So many golden bits: George's obsession with "making good time," George's hilarious "Oho no I'm sorry" when the Bubble Boy gets the Moops card, Kramer burning the cabin down, Jerry wiping his mouth with that napkin as Elaine weeps. The entire Bubble Boy think struck me as unbelievably edgy the first time I saw this episode, because the show has the nerve to upend our expectations and both mock this kid's affliction and also reveal that the afflicted kid is actually a total jerk. It remains one of my favorites. It's just sidesplitting from start to finish.
  12. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    The Cheever Letters

    The stand-up is about the office -- people treating it as just a place to get free coffee and steal stationery, how people have pictures of their family there, as if they're going to forget that they're married. Okay.

    George and Jerry come into the apartment, talking about how Susan is making them both come to dinner to tell her father about the cabin burning down. That just sounds like a terrible idea. This is the first time George is meeting him, too. Jerry just uses it as an excuse to ride George about how "comical" the irony is and how deep he's in. George starts trying to minimize it, and Jerry plays along for laughs. "We could build a cabin like that." "Well, maybe not us, but two men could." They get started writing the pilot for NBC, after having put it off for weeks. George starts bitching about the pens, and then nitpicks the seating arrangments, looking for any excuse to procrastinate. Jerry keeps him on track, until they sit silently for a while trying to think of something, and Jerry leaps at George's mention of how he was supposed to call Elaine. Jerry gets on the phone to Elaine at work, and to avoid having to chitchat with her assistant for forever, pretends to be on a busy pay phone, and finally gets through to Elaine. Cut to Elaine in her office: "Hey, I got a rubber pencil thing going on here," she reports, before blowing Jerry off. Back in the apartment, Jerry and George manage to decide on George entering the apartment. This is a lengthy process. At Elaine's office, she calls in Sandra, the assistant, and asks her to not talk with her friends for too long, acting on Jerry's complaint. Sandra immediately realizes that Jerry complained, and gets teary and storms off, saying she can't work for Elaine anymore. Elaine tries to apologize: "Listen, listen, Jerry's under a lot of pressure right now! It's very hard being a stand-up comedian! Sometimes they don't laugh!"

    Jerry and George are both asleep in the apartment, and wake up to the sound of Kramer opening the door, then try to convince him they're busy. Kramer complains that he can't play any more golf because all the cigars burned, and asks George to get some more from Mr. Ross. "Are you crazy? I can't ask the guy for more cigars after you burned down his cabin!" "Why? What's one thing got to do with another?" But Kramer can't go back to public golf courses anymore after experiencing the greatness of the private course. Richards is always great at those kind of rants. George bails on the script, saying, "I think we got a bite on it," so he can get ready for dinner with Susan's family. In four hours.

    At dinner, you can tell instantly that the mood is miserable. The boozy Mrs. Ross is alleging that George looks like Mr. Ross's sister, and Mr. Ross just looks like he hates everyone, and grills George about the cigars (they were made special for Castro). He's basically doing Tierney as Alton Benes. Susan says that "Daddy never laughs," which inspires George, in his usual awkwardly-attempting-to-be-ingratiating mode, to go into a discourse on how laughter isn't all that valuable anyway. "I mean, what is the point of opening your mouth and going, 'HA-HA!' What is that? 'HA-HA!'" Perfect delivery. "You know, you can't get those cigars anywhere." "You and your cigars," Mrs. Ross slurs. "Wear some more lipstick." And then the cabin comes up, and we mercifully cut away from the carnage.

    Jerry is chewing Elaine out at the apartment for her clumsy handling of the Sandra thing. Elaine asks him to call her and apologize. The real highlight here is the interplay between Jerry and Elaine, which is always some of the most fun background back-and-forth in the series, as he yanks her hand out of a bowl of trail mix while he's on the phone and she pouts. Jerry makes up a great lie, about how he said it was a real treat to talk to Sandra and Elaine thought he was being sarcastic, and Sandra asks him out that night. There's great use made of the phone as a comedy prop, from Jerry swatting at Elaine and talking in gestures and f
  13. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    The Opera

    The stand-up is making fun of the monotony of the tuxedo representing the generic interchangeability of men. Fair.

    We open with Joe Davola leaving a message on Jerry's machine: "I have a hair on my tongue. Can't get it off. You know how much I hate that? Of course you do. You put it there." He blames Jerry for having "put the kibosh" on his NBC deal, because he's a paranoid lunatic, and threatens to "put the kibosh" on Jerry in revenge. Jerry comes into the room, followed closely by Kramer, who wants him to come to an opera. Jerry is not into the whole opera thing, with the random singing, which Kramer defends as the way everyone communicated in Italy before they got "tired" and "couldn't keep up" with the singing anymore. He guilts Jerry into coming by threatening to call the whole thing off for everyone else, since Jerry is "the nucleus" of the group. Elaine comes over and reveals that she's going to take her boyfriend Joey along, the first time he'll meet Jerry. We get some good Jerry-Elaine banter, with Jerry defending Joey. (There's more banter in an extended version of the scene, and it's all pretty good.) Cut to Joe Davola, in his apartment, blasting opera while he lifts weights, sobbing, surrounded by pictures of Elaine scattered around the floor. Yeah, that's a well-adjusted guy. Jerry goes over, stops Kramer from trying to read his mail through the envelope, and plays his message after Elaine leaves. During which we get a cut to Joe Davola holding his hand over a candle and laughing madly. The props surrounding him on the couch are great too; rather than being obviously bizarre, like the Elaine pictures, they're just a collection of things that don't make sense. A drawing of a hand, stock photos of fruit bowls, Pepto-Bismol, a juicebox. Cut back to a panicked Jerry screaming back-and-forth with Kramer, both of them spitting words out at double speed. Jerry calls Crazy Joe to say that he didn't have anything to do with his NBC deal and leaves a message.

    Elaine comes into Joe's apartment, ready to surprise him with her first visit, and finds pictures of herself all over the walls. Joe comes out of a closet he's turned into a darkroom. "You scared me!" "Good. Fear's our most primal emotion." "You left your door open." "Good. I like to encourage intruders." He's turning his home into a shrine for Elaine, and took all the different photos with a telephoto lens. Including pictures of her in the shower. Davola's matter-of-fact treatment of his stalking makes the scene. She tells him she couldn't get the opera tickets; he starts rubbing his head, and leans despondently against the door as she's trying to leave. Then he starts calling her by the name of the woman from Pagliacci and telling her about the story of the clown whose wife was unfaithful to him. "Do you think I'm a clown?" he asks, before accusing her of betraying him. It would be a pretty menacing scene, but Julia plays Elaine's reactions so goofy, as if she's trying to get out of an embarrassing situation at a party, that it moves the scene back down into safe territory. She finally sprays him in the face with cherry Binaca she dug out of her purse.

    Jerry is on the phone with police, ready to go to the opera; he can't get them to do anything. George comes up, and has to be let in as Jerry now has the door heavily locked. George gets big laughs just for appearing, dressed as he is in a tuxedo that's way too small. He knows it, and looks miserable. They start talking about the last time he wore it, for a wedding where he gave a remarkably bad toast. "I've never heard anybody curse in a toast." "I was trying to loosen them up a little bit." "There were old people there. Old relatives. You were like a Redd Foxx record. I mean, at the end of the toast, no one even drank." Apparently the father of the bride ended up putting him in a headlock and throwing him out. Susan isn't coming, and George starts complaining about how she doesn't pay for anything. She doesn't even put in a token reach for the check. Kramer thuds up against the locked door
  14. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    The Virgin

    And here we hit Seinfeld's fiftieth episode!

    The stand-up is about how hard it is to break up. Unexceptional.

    Jerry is at the comedy club with George, complaining that they've got a story meeting with NBC in two days and, after a month and a half of trying, no story. George shrugs it off; they'll do it tomorrow. Jerry gives him crap for still having a ski lift ticket on his jacket; George defends it as a way to impress women. Jerry notices Marla, whom he almost dated in the past. She's a professional closet reorganizer; he had her reorganize his closet in order to meet her, but called it off when he found out she had a boyfriend. The show has a lot of fun with the two mains introducing themselves to her and her friend, shooting names back and forth. George goes off to keep the other girl busy, while Marla asks Jerry about his trip to Berlin to be there when the Berlin Wall was going down, which was his excuse for calling off the closet job. It turns out that she told her boyfriend about it, and he was so impressed with the idea that he made the same trip, and never went back. Rather than just bluff his way through it, Jerry says that coverage of the celebrations on CNN was so good that he decided he didn't have to go. Stacy, the other girl, is very impressed by George's "job" as a "writer" for a TV show.

    At the diner the next day, George is saying that he might go out with Stacy; it's not like he's exclusive with Susan. Jerry takes that apart -- he's got four or five phone calls a week, an implied Saturday date, her stuff in his medicine cabinet, and Tampax in the house. He's got a girlfriend. George rages about how unfair it is that, now that he finally has an answer to "What do you do?" to get women with, he's already got a girlfriend. "You don't need a girlfriend when you can answer that question. That's what you say in order to get girlfriends. Once you can get girlfriends, you don't want a girlfriend, you just want more girlfriends." George, in a usual fit of self-sabotage and overconfidence, wants to break up with Susan to enjoy his newfound supposed eligibility, but Jerry points out that if he breaks up with Susan, he'll lose the job because she'll stop backing the show. Jerry explicitly points out the irony of the situation, a gag that wasn't all that great when he was pulling it a few episodes ago, and which doesn't really help the cause of the comedy. George starts scheming to get a way to break up without ill will. He wants to set Susan up with David Letterman, on whom she has a crush, so that she'll leave him. "This is your plan?" "Nooo, nooo, I'm just thinking." "I don't think you are."

    In Jerry's closet, he's got Marla measuring, and she proposes a "radical" system of hooks. He starts flirting right when Kramer comes in and he has to go out and kick him off the TV set -- Kramer gave his set to George so he'd stop being addicted to TV, but now he's just zoning out in front of it at Jerry's. Jerry tells him to go outside; "Nah, nah, there's nothing out there for me." "There's weather!" "Weather? I don't need weather; weather doesn't do it for me." Jerry finally manages to kick him out, with Richards doing some great expressions during Kramer's nod-and-a-wink routine when Marla comes out. Jerry starts talking to her about her boyfriend leaving ("You must have been devastated being left for a wall."), and she says there was a problem anyway right as Elaine buzzes up. Jerry randomly pops the fridge open and offers her a Snapple, totally out of nowhere. I don't know if it's a satire on product placement, or just an opportunity to do something funny with a silly word, but it's a wonderful little gag. Jerry finally draws it out that Marla didn't want to move in with her boyfriend because she's a virgin, which is a pretty intimate thing to confess to a closet reorganization client, and right then Elaine pops in. She returns a video ("Thanks a lot, two weeks late. Now it cost me thirty-five dollars to see Havana.") and Jerry accidentally prompts her to launch into a story about how her d
  15. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2001
    star 6
    If I ever fix my home computer properly, I need to watch these in sequence.
  16. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    The Contest

    Jerry's stand-up is about not wanting to think about the fact that your parents have had sex. It's pretty good material.

    Jerry, Elaine, and Kramer are chatting about whether terrorists do the laundry when they've got hostages trapped for days when George walks in, obviously bummed. (There's an alternate intro, with Joyce the aerobics instructor walking in and awkwardly chatting briefly with Elaine, and having it be obvious that they're not really close, before the conversation awkwardly ends. Kramer then tells Elaine that it was rude not to invite her to sit down. It's funny social-awkwardness humor that suits Seinfeld well; it's much better than the material in the show now, but it doesn't get to the George pay dirt right away like the other.) "My mother caught me." "Caught you? Doing what?" "You know. I was alone . . ." The way the show manages to immediately get its subject across without ever saying it is pretty great, and the scene is played perfectly, with George glancing at Elaine a couple times before spitting out his story, Kramer being quietly amused off to the side, and George doing a perfect Estelle impersonation. He stopped by the house, they were supposed to be at work, he saw a Glamour magazine and got the urge. Of course, his mom walks in on him, because George is doing it in the living room like an idiot, screams, and falls over; George can't catch her because he has to zip up first. "So she fell?" "WELL I COULDN'T RUN OVER THERE THE WAY I WAS." Elaine keeps laughing while she's saying she's sorry that Estelle is in traction. "All she said on the way over in the car was, 'Why, George, why?' I said, 'Because it's there!'" George promises that he's never going to masturbate again, to which everyone scoffs. Jerry says there's no way, and when he claims that he can hold out longer than George, George asks for a bet. Kramer gets in -- "You? You'll be out before we get the check!" -- and so does Elaine, after the guys object that she has an advantage in that "it" is not part of women's "lifestyle" and she has to pony up extra cash. There's a great shot where they link pinkies for the bet.

    In the apartment, George is on the phone with his mom, who wants him to see a psychiatrist. "You know, if everyone who did that had to go see a psychiatrist . . ." he says to Jerry, and snorts. Jerry sees a chance to needle him: "Yeah . . . ?" "Whatever!" Kramer bursts in after Elaine buzzes, and points out that there's a naked woman to be seen in her apartment across the street. The guys are mightily impressed, and Kramer gets up and strides off to his apartment while the other two are staring and talking about nudism. Elaine comes in, hears what the guys are looking at, crows about how easy this will be to win, and has fun with the fact that they're paying no attention to her at all. Exactly 53 seconds after leaving the apartment, Kramer comes back in, throws his money on the counter, and declares "I'm out." Jerry can barely keep his composure.

    At the hospital, Estelle is berating George about it; this is the perfect episode to introduce George's mom, and she fits George's issues perfectly. "I go out for a quart of milk, I come home and find my son treating his body like it was an amusement park." She goes on to rag on him, "Too bad you can't do that for a living." Then George's dumpy, lookalike cousin Shelly comes in and starts asking how Estelle got hurt, which gets predictable defensive evasion and shouting-down from George. Meanwhile, the nurse comes in and starts giving the patient on the other side of the room, behind a curtain on which their shadows are cast, a spongebath. The pretty lady patient. George is awestruck, and can't pull his attention away from the curtain even as Shelly drones on vaguely insultingly to him. Alexander plays the scene like an absolute pro, just driven mouth-open wild at the scenario unfolding before him.

    Elaine is at the gym with her aerobics-instructor friend Joyce, who spends the entire scene with her leg propped up next to her on top of a counter, stretchi
  17. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    The Airport

    There's a pretty good stand-up sequence about how everything in air travel is small. The material is not the most hilarious, but the craftsmanship of turning every element of the airport/airplane experience into something tiny or little or small, building and building, is impressive and gets funny just from the build.

    Elaine and Jerry are driving to the airport in a rental car after going to Jerry's gig in St. Louis and letting Elaine see her sister there, which lets them riff on rental cars and banter. George is doing the airport pickup because Jerry bet him that he couldn't reach an awning after George kept bragging about his vertical leap. "He didn't come within two feet of the thing. He's waving at it . . ." Jerry timed it out perfectly for them to drop off the car, get the shuttle, and get on the plane. So of course that statement is followed with a shot of the two running after an empty shuttle car as the driver laughs at them. The random maliciousness of Seinfeld's secondary characters is so consistent, but it never gets old.

    They make it to the baggage check, where they argue over how much to tip the baggage handler. I don't think Seinfeld spends more time on any one subject than it does on tipping. It's always coming back to that. Jerry finally asks the guy, who says five dollars a bag. Elaine accuses him of trying to rip them off, but Jerry pays it and hurries off, pulling Elaine away from telling this guy off. "JFK . . . Honolulu," the handler says as he sorts their bags.

    As they run through the corridors to try to catch the plane, Jerry rags on Elaine for running like a girl, with little steps, and insists that she has to run like a man if she wants to make the plane. Jerry's run is not exactly manly, though. They make the counter, but their flight is canceled, so they get put on another flight to LaGuardia instead of JFK. The two seats available aren't together, though, and one is a first-class seat. Jerry barely hesitates before claiming it for himself. Because Elaine hasn't flown first class, she doesn't know what she's missing, he argues, but Jerry can't go back. "You flew here coach." "Yeah, that's a point."

    They board, and the setup of the rest of the episode becomes apparent immediately, with the flight attendant at the door brusquely directing Elaine back to her seat and then unctuously ushering Jerry into first class. This sort of dopey-looking guy comes upon Elaine once she's seated and tells her that she's in his seat; she has to slide over between a woman loudly chewing her gum, and this guy, who hasn't checked any of her luggage and now sits down with three giant bags in his lap. There's a nice claustrophobic shot of Elaine begging for the flight to be over before it's even begun. Meanwhile, Jerry gets approached in the same way, but he has to slide over for a beautiful woman into the only other seat in his row, which is perfectly wide. Larry Charles plays a lot with parallelism in this episode, structuring a lot of comedic echoes not just between Jerry and Elaine, but also between those two and George and Kramer.

    Kramer has agreed to drive George for the pickup, which seems to make George a redundant part of the pickup he's supposed to be getting credit for, but hey, you've got to get your whole cast in somehow. "What made you think you could touch that awning?" "I confused it with another awning." George has gotten the whole thing timed out so they can pick them up at exactly the right time, but Kramer takes a different route than George expected, destroying his whole plan. Another bit of parallelism. Kramer starts talking about how they'll get there early this way, and he can go to the duty-free shop. George claims that duty is negligible, and the whole duty-free shop is a scam. This gives them a chance to have fun with saying "duty" a lot, and then both of them start singing "I like to stop at the duty-free shop."

    "So he says, 'Squeeze your breasts together,'" and I say, now there's a way to open a scene, "and I say, 'I thought this was an ad for shoes.'" Yep,
  18. timmoishere Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2007
    star 6
    Ah, The Contest, probably my favorite episode after The Chinese Restaurant. Every joke and gag works perfectly, especially Kramer's smug "I'm out!" quip.

    The Airport was also brilliant, contrasting Elaine's misery with Jerry's happiness.
  19. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    The Pick

    Jerry makes fun of fashion modeling in the stand-up. It's a pretty long bit.

    George is in Jerry's apartment, moaning about how he loved Susan and she loved him. He wanted out when he was with her, and now that he doesn't have her, he wants her back. It's perfect George, wallowing in his own misery and wanting only what he doesn't have. Jerry just keeps deadpan shooting him down. "Not only didn't you love her, you didn't even like her!" Elaine shouts from the bathroom. "Who says?" "You did!" He keeps going on in his self-loathing: "A beautiful, successful, intelligent. woman is in love with me, and I throw it all away, oh-ho-ho-ho-boy. Now I'll spend the rest of my life living alone. I'll sit in my disgusting little apartment, watching basketball games, eating Chinese takeout, walking around with no underwear because I'm too lazy to do the laundry." "You walk around with no underwear?" "Yeah, what do you do when you run out of laundry?" "I do a wash!" It's an insane back-and-forth with Jerry, and a quintessential George moment. Finally Jerry tells him that he needs to see Elaine's therapist friend -- George worries that it's "that nut doctor she went to Europe with," but it's not Reston, sadly -- and George relents. Boy, Elaine has a ton of convenient friends. Elaine comes out and picks up a Christmas card Jerry got from Tia, the model, and starts thinking that she should send out a Christmas card with a picture on it. Elaine's going on a date with Fred, "that religious guy." (There's a deleted scene, further setting up the running gag in which Kramer is coming into the apartment looking for cereal, when Kramer calls Jerry to ask what kinds of cereal he has before shooting in.) Kramer comes in looking for cereal, and George asks him whether he should call Susan; Kramer says that George has to listen to his "little man" inside, a la Double Indemnity. "My little man's an idiot!" Kramer hears Elaine talking about the Christmas card, and says he can take a picture for her. Meanwhile, the whole time, George is shouting out random exclamations about how good he had it with Susan. Kramer insists that he'll have to "improvise" with Elaine's outfit because he doesn't like it, as they walk over to take a picture, after Jerry assures Elaine that Kramer's actually good with photography. The camera settles back on George and Jerry as George starts singing morosely. "George. I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to leave."

    Jerry has Tia over in the apartment, and he smells her perfume, which smells like the beach. She points out her new ad, for The Ocean by Calvin Klein. Jerry gets all worked up, realizing that the company stole Kramer's idea from The Pez Dispenser. Jerry hears Kramer's door, and realizes that he's got to keep Kramer away. He bolts for the door and tries to lock it just as Kramer gets in there. Kramer just keeps pushing against the door, finally wiggling his head in to look at Jerry, "Hey!" like he has absolutely no idea that maybe he's not welcome, and then see Tia and raise his eyebrows at her, and grin ridiculously at Jerry while he asks to borrow his DustBuster and keeps squirming against the door. It's some of the most ridiculous, amazing physical comedy Richards has gotten to do on the show. It's Kramer perfection. Jerry just gives up and lets him in, but forces him to wait by the door, then shoves Tia all the way across the room before going to get the DustBuster. Kramer immediately tries to go and compare heights with Tia, who doesn't seem to get the whole "Don't let Kramer smell this perfume" thing that Jerry has already explained to her. Jerry forces them apart -- "You're tall, she's tall, I'm tall, what's the difference, we're all tall!" -- but Kramer smells something, which leads Jerry to wave the DustBuster around Tia. Jerry gets him out the door and acknowledges a close call, before Kramer screams "THE BEACH!" and bursts through the door. Tia admits that she's wearing The Ocean by Calvin Klein, and Kramer spazzes out that his idea was stolen. "I could have been a millionaire! I
  20. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    The Visa

    The stand-up is about lawyers, and how they're the people who know the rules. Jerry goes into an analogy about board games and kids, but it doesn't really go anywhere.

    George is at the counter at Monk's, talking with a lawyer and making her laugh. Jerry and Elaine come in, arguing about how Elaine hasn't given Jerry his mail that she was picking up for him during a trip yet. "It's mostly bills, magazines, and junk mail anyway." "Elaine, that's what mail is. Without bills, magazines, and junk mail, there is no mail." The lawyer gives George her card and leaves, and he comes over and starts talking about how he had this great meet with her, and he was hilarious, and he's all excited about it, until he starts winding down and moaning about how he started too good, and it'll be impossible for him to continue living up to this standard. Jerry spots Babu Bhatt behind the counter; Jerry somehow got Babu a job here and an apartment in his building, which has Babu saying what a good man he is. Meanwhile, George is complaining to Elaine that he fails when he has to become "real," and women want funny, not real, as Elaine disagrees with him. "You always got to give them a big show, you always have to be on, otherwise why would they like me? They'd just go for a better-looking guy with more money." Elaine starts grimacing and nodding along; she's got to agree with that. "You mean that's true? I'm right?" George says in alarm. That's a brilliant line, getting at the way that George is willfully making himself miserable, selling this hellish vision of his life, without even really believing in it. He gets his kicks out of making himself miserable, but he doesn't want to have to actually, really believe that he's screwed by life. Jerry comes back, and George gets the whole mail thing explained to him. Kramer couldn't pick up the mail because he was at a baseball fantasy camp. "Kramer goes to a fantasy camp. His whole life is a fantasy camp. People should plunk down two thousand dollars to live like him for a week. Do nothing, fall ass-backwards into money, mooch food off your neighbors, and have sex without dating -- that's a fantasy camp." Jerry invites George to take the lawyer out to dinner with Jerry and Elaine when they go to an auto show that Saturday, giving him less pressure. George visualizes Jerry cracking the woman up at dinner (George's imaginary punchline is "He'd never heard of corduroy!") and starts panicking about being shown up, since this woman had been so impressed with how funny George was. He turns Jerry down, and Jerry tells Elaine that he refuses to go to Isabella's for dinner because it's "too trendy." Jerry the hipster.

    Cut to George at Isabella's with the lawyer, Cheryl. And of course Jerry and Elaine show up. Jerry is in a nice restaurant, wearing a sport jacket with bright white sneakers. The two of them start being funny and suggest they push their tables together. "No, no, you can't do that. It's -- they're round, it makes an eight . . ." George just keeps trying to keep them from being funny, jumping on their conversation, so Elaine asks Cheryl for legal advice about Ping's lawsuit against her from The Virgin. But it turns out, Cheryl is Ping's cousin and she's the lawyer suing Elaine. They all laugh about it, and when Cheryl leaves to make a call, George starts asking Jerry to stop being funny. Jerry insists that he can stop being funny, but Elaine and George say that he can't turn it off. So when Cheryl comes back, Jerry starts acting exaggeratedly morose. "Well, birthdays are really symbolic of how another year's gone by, and how little we've grown. No matter how desperate we are that someday a better self will emerge, each flicker of the candles on the cake we know that's not to be. That for the rest of our sad, wretched, pathetic lives, this is who we are to the bitter end. Inevitably, irrevocably . . . happy birthday? No such thing." To see Jerry turn on a dime into this depressive act, and to really do a performance, is surprising and really fun.

    Elaine finally drops off the mai
  21. Nevermind Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2001
    star 6
    That sounds definitely higher than 29 to me...[face_laugh]
  22. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    That's the great thing about the show: it's so strong that even hilarious episodes have tons of competition.

    The Movie

    The stand-up is about how apparently all movie theater employees are either teenagers or elderly. I haven't really observed that (and all the movie theater employees in the episode appear to be in their thirties and forties), so the joke doesn't really land, but it's well-constructed.

    At the comedy club, Jerry's show is delayed, which interferes with his intricate plan to perform there, perform across town, and then catch a movie with his friends. Jerry agrees to go on later at the Improv and miss seeing Checkmate. At the other club, he misses his spot again, because he heard "nine-fifteen" as "nine-fifty." Pat Buckles somehow teleported from the Improv, where he was last scene, over to here to do a set in the past, or something, and he comes out now. The whole episode runs on sitcom time, anyway, with wildly erratic travel times and time that flows differently depending on which scene you're in (Jerry appears to travel all over town and back and forth, even having an endless cab ride, in the time that it takes the gang the get into a movie and through the coming attractions). Buckles comes out and starts doing terrible material to Jerry, immediately setting up this character as a pushy, incredibly obnoxious idiot. This seems to be the way Jerry and Larry conceptualize all their comedian rivals -- clingy, grating hacks -- since it's basically Bania's same schtick. Buckles insists on splitting a cab.

    Elaine surprises George in line for the movie. They start talking about Checkmate (Your next move could be your last, reads the poster), and George begins raving about Ponce de Leon, and how amazing the finale was, when Ponce runs to the mirror to see if the Fountain of Youth is working, and it isn't, and a single tear rolls down his cheek. Elaine thinks Ponce de Leon was cheesy garbage. Seinfeld has played with silly fake movies before, but this really gets the ball rolling. Kramer comes over, after having waited at the wrong theater by mistake, and wants to wander off immediately to get a Papaya King hot dog, which sends the others into fits that he's going to miss the movie. Again, wildly differing sitcom time is in play. They finally realize that George doesn't have tickets, but has been sitting in the ticketholders' line forever, completely failing to notice that it isn't moving. He defends himself that he asked the guy in front of him if he had tickets and the guy said no -- but on reinterrogation, it turns out that that guy didn't have tickets because his buddy was getting them, and he's just another random unhelpful jerk to populate Seinfeld's universe. It's a nice real-life touch, the kind of dopey mistake we make and then fail to notice. Of course, the tickets are now sold out. They agree to go over to the other theater around the corner, which has smaller screens. "It's not a theater; it's like a room where they bring in POWs to show them propaganda films," Elaine whines. They leave Kramer there to meet Jerry when he comes.

    In the taxi, Buckles is telling Jerry pointless stories about his childhood in a strangely insistent tone. Jerry's just staring off to the side, trying to zone out, and occasionally screaming a response to Buckles. "Okay, I get your point!" he finally says when Buckles insists that Jerry has to stay off fish. "I have a point?" Buckles forces the cabbie to take a different route than Jerry wants, which we know by sitcom law will lead to gridlock.

    At the other theater, George gets the tickets but is interested by the poster for Rochelle, Rochelle -- a young girl's strange, erotic journey from Milan to Minsk. "You know, men can sit through the most pointless, boring movie if there's even the slightest possibility that a woman will take her top off," Elaine riffs. "So what's your point?" George wants Elaine to pay him back for her ticket, but she only has a twenty, so she'll pay him later. "Or, or I could take the twenty, and pay you later." He keeps trying to get the t